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Getting to Zero: What Stands in the Way?

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Nelson Vergel

Nelson Vergel

Program for Wellness Restoration, Houston; Diagnosed in 1986

More than 65 percent of new infections come from people who infect others and do not know their own status. Stigma drives denial, so many people are afraid to get tested and if they test positive, many are afraid to seek care due to fears of disclosure. Young age also makes people feel invincible, so they do not think they can get HIV. Social pressures on women in some countries make it difficult for them to protect themselves. And condom-free sex feels good and does not require money to buy a condom. I seriously doubt that we can dramatically decrease infection rates. That is why we need a cure or a preventive vaccine.




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Reader Comments:

Comment by: W. JAMES PERIGNY (FT. LAUDERDALE, FL) Tue., Dec. 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm EST
After working in the trenches of HIV trying to help people, I sincerely believe:
1. Most grants go to Treatment not enough go to prevention...we are getting too many new infections and we will never stamp out Aids at the current rates of infection.
2. When Grant decisions are made, no one actually asks "how much funding do you already receive". Keep as many Agencies funded as possible that ACTUALLY WORK WITH HIV CLIENTS.
3. Too many grants are gobbled up by the large agencies that have large staff and payroll overhead and can produce Grant Writers written pretty paperwork. THE EMPHASIS SHOULD NOT BE IN THE WRITTEN PAPER, BUT RATHER, WHAT THE AGENCY HAS ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHED WITH THE FUNDING THEY HAVE PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED.
4. Not many grants have been given for Peer or Support groups which keep Positives engaged in adherrence and the newest meds or programs or where to actually go for help.
5. The government should create an AIDS Research Center (much like the Atom Bomb research center of the 1940's) and not duplicate research dollars. HIRE the best research scientists.
6. Hold the cost of meds down by blocking advertisements and RYAN WHITE MEDS purchased on the State level, not the county level...the prices would be cheaper. The Pharmas are already making billions on managing health...where is their incentive to find a vaccine or cure???
7. HIGH IMPACT PREVENTION is only as good as its data. For instance, if you mostly test in Black areas, then the data will show huge increase in Black populations and ignore Hispanics or other groups.
8. EVERYONE should be tested. The Federal Government should force the AMA to have HIV Testing part of annual physical exams
9. More grant dollars should be given for Social Marketing and radio ads stressing PREVENTION. The messages need to be sent over and over.
10. More grant dollars should be given to erase HIV Stigma. Fear currently rules.
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